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Tenants are being priced out, claims housing charity

16 December 2013

A housing charity from Cornwall has revealed that many prospective tenants in the region are struggling to find accommodation in the private sector.

Chy Lowen, which gives residents struggling to afford deposits or rent payments extra help, claims it has had twice the number of referrals in 2013 as it had in 2012.

The service the charity provides is made available through the social housing enterprise Chapter 1 and directly pays clients' rent to private landlords, meaning there is no need for a guarantor and the risk of accumulating rent arrears and unfavourable credit ratings is removed.

Debbie Applegate, who is a spokesperson for the St Austell-based charity, told the BBC that she believes there are a number of factors that are causing increasing numbers of people to turn to Chy Lowen.

Despite widespread talk of economic recovery, the financial hardships that still mean many are struggling to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis are ruling tenants out of laying down one-off deposits on properties that would otherwise be affordable.

Ms Applegate said: "Often with the private sector there are huge barriers, such as big deposits, rent in advance and credit checks. All these things prevent them from going down the estate agent route. However, they do make very good tenants."

Other issues that are driving people towards the charity include continued increases in energy bills and the current acceleration of the housing market, which was facilitated by the introduction of the coalition government's Help to Buy scheme in April.

Representatives from the organisation claim they are now taking between 30 and 40 referrals a week onto the Chy Lowen Private Sector Leasing initiative, which was set up in 2009.

Since it was created, the scheme has housed around 200 residents in privately-owned properties that had previously been empty, with 160 tenancy agreements currently on its books.

The work carried out by Chy Lowen is also likely to provide a valuable service to landlords insurance customers in the region who may be struggling to find tenants to fill properties.